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MDHHS rolls back mandatory COVID-19 testing for agricultural, food processing employees

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Posted at 2:56 PM, Jul 02, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-02 14:56:58-04

(WSYM) — The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services rescinded its order requiring COVID-19 testing for agricultural and food processing employees.

MDHHS made the change citing increasing vaccination rates, declining cases, expanded access to testing and vaccinations, and enhanced housing and worker protections.

“With COVID-19 transmission numbers low and increasing vaccination rates, we are removing the requirement for testing for these workers,” said Elizabeth Hertel, MDHHS director, in a press release. “The most important tool we have is the safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine and we encourage everyone to join the nearly 62% of Michiganders who have already been vaccinated as soon as possible.”

“The Michigan Primary Care Association in partnership with our member Health Centers have built a successful partnership with the state, farm operators, local health departments, workers and communities to meet workers where they are and provide vaccination and testing,” said Dennis Litos, MPCA interim chief executive, in a press release. “Health Centers are proud to provide health care to farm workers at the Health Center location or at the mobile unit’s location to deliver the safe and effective vaccination right at the farm.”

Other protections for agricultural workers still remain in effect. The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development’s February 25, 2021, emergency rules continues to require that agricultural laborer housing camps establish COVID-19 preparedness and response plans, and provide quarantine housing for workers who were exposed to COVID-19, among other protections.